Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mofilm's Branded Ad Competition - Make some money for your short film!

Hi All

We received a communication from James Mullighan, Creative Director of Shooting People. shootingpeople.org/about and we thought we'd share this with you.

Shooting People is "always looking for ways to help independent filmmakers make money and believe that the most generous and exciting initiative out there for this at the moment is Mofilm."

Mofilm run a series of film upload competitions asking filmmakers to make ads for brands.

Stand a chance to win cash prizes from $1,000 right up to $10,000.

If the brand uses the film as an ad, the filmmakers get residuals.

You stand a chance to win a fabulous Canon 5D Mark II camera worth over £1,500. It's the camera that is the FIRST DSLR in the world to shoot Hi-Definition.

Make money from your short by entering Mofilm's branded ad competition. The prizes are really generous, and include a car, going to the Tribeca Film Festival, bespoke film tech packages, and lots of cash prizes from $1,000 right up to $10,000. The competition – open now – culminates in a gala event in Barcelona, and entries close on 1 February.

Enter via this link shootingpeople.org/mofilm

Deadline Feb 1st 2010 – Enter Now

Monday, January 25, 2010

Communication regarding filming at Stadiums and Costs

Please see the communication below regarding shooting at stadiums around the country. Affected persons should contact their respective organisations explaining how this situation will affect them:

Dear all,

In response to queries regarding the location rates charged at Soccer City, Orlando Stadium, Rand Stadium and Dobsonville Stadium, Stadium Management South Africa has confirmed that the standard rate is R4,500 per hour. The location fee is the same at all four stadiums.

Note however that a company can be charged per hour or per day based on the time required on site, further line items come into play depending on the shoot i.e. will the pitch be used, floodlights, security/medical/cleaning etc. All costing is therefore sent out based on a client’s final shoot requirements.

Please also note that arrangements for requesting permission to shoot at these four stadiums as well as at Ellis Park and Loftus remain the same and we recommend that applications be submitted via the GFC. Also note that all principal stadiums will be handed over to FIFA in run up to the FIFA Soccer World Cup South Africa. While we have not been given a clear date for when this will happen we do urge production companies to schedule shoots before April as it seems more than likely that the handover might occur during April at which stage it will be impossible to gain access to the stadiums.

For location assistance please contact Puisano Phatoli or Seitiso Mogoshane at (011) 833-0409.


Jacques Stoltz
Senior Marketing Manager
Gauteng Film Commission
56 Main Street, Johannesburg, 2108, South Africa
P.O. Box 61601, Marshalltown, 2107
Tel: +27 (0) 11 833 0409
Fax: +27 (0) 11 833 0282 / (0) 86 505 5773
Cell: +27 (0) 83 455 9688
E-mail: jacques@gautengfilm.org.za
Web: www.gautengfilm.org.za

Dear all,

Further to my previous e-mail we have just received information that Loftus stadium will no longer allow shoots up until August 2010. We await confirmation of this in writing.

In terms of Ellis Park and Soccer City please also note that certain restrictions apply when filming on the pitch. Approval to film on pitches will have to be cleared by management once a full assessment of needs have been completed. This is due to FIFA restrictions.


Jacques Stoltz
Senior Marketing Manager
Gauteng Film Commission

Report on Film Indaba 2009

The National Film and Video Foundation hosted its 3rd Film Indaba on 26 and 27 November 2009 at Glenburn Lodge. The indaba was attended by various delegates including government departments, industry representatives as well as individuals.

The theme of the Indaba was titled Mapping the Way Towards 2025. The second edition of the value Charter was the discussion document to generate input from government, industry and citizens. The Council`s thrust towards 2025 is about how to take the NFVF and cinema to the Citizens and aligning the NFVF long terms visions towards 2022 with the government`s Vision 2025 for South Africa.

Professor Mbulelo Mzamane, facilitated the plenary session on the first day as well as the report back from the breakaway sessions. Proceeding on the first day took place at plenary session and were opened by the chairperson on the NFVF Council Ms Charlotte Mampane who welcome everyone. The NFVF CEO Mr Eddie Mbalo presented the NFVF Strategy, providing an overview of how government works from the constitution of clusters and the purpose of the Indaba. The Value Charter will become the blue print and will be presented to cabinet for approval.

The keynote addresses by Ms Lulu Xingwana, the Minister of Arts and Culture reiterated the President's call for unification by the industry. Mr Tumelo Chipfupa, the DDG at the Department of Trade and Industry highlighted the Department's support for the sector. He spoke on the Film and Television Incentive and its revision as well as good relations with the industry as well as the NFVF.

Ms Kgomotso Matsunyane, co-chair of the South African Screen Federation (SASFED) made a presentation which outlined industry challenges. The presentation questioned the need for an indaba as a forum. SASFED also indicated the lack of Black engineers, heads of departments as well as women. SASFED is of a view that there is no need of a national film school.

The representative for the Department of communications, who was confirmed as the main speakers for the plenary presentation did not come and there was no replacement on the day.

The panel discussion on the state of the industry was opened by remarks from Clarence Hamilton, NFVF Head of Production and Development. He gave statistics on feature films and documentaries production, budgets, distribution, in the past 15 years. The Statistics indicated that a total of 132 feature films and 615 documentaries were produced. While documentaries were largely distributed on television, a small number was released theatrically whilst distribution platforms for 556 documentaries were unknown. The figures indicate that the industry is still dominated by Whites in the creative aspects.

Desiree Maakgraaf, chairperson of the Independent producers Organisation (IPO) indicated that the industry was in state of crisis. This was largely due to the SABC crisis. Research conducted by the IPO indicated that small and larger companies were not largely affected. Medium sized companies were affected and require state support.

Day two began with a session at plenary where delegates were taken through the topics and facilitators for the breakaway session. Because of the limited turnout of delegates on the second day, NFVF Executive management decided to combine topics to ensure a fair spread. The session on Policy Alignment, intergovernmental and Stakeholder session was combined with the session on Making an Economic Business Case for the industry. The Building a Sustainable Business was merged with Development and Growth of Markets for their close relativity. The session on Human Capital development Session was the only stand alone breakaway session.

Human Capital Development

The session kicked off with a presentation of the feasibility study on the establishment of a National Film School by Terrence Khumalo, followed by elaboration by Clarence Hamilton on the training interventions the NFVF has embarked on.

From the two presentations it was evident that there was a need for training within the industry, a number of positions which proved hard to fill during 2006 were identified in the study and Clarence went on to state that there is a need for middle management training.

In response to the presentations it was argued that there is no need for a new institution, a national film school is no longer appropriate at this time. There was satisfaction with the international benchmarking, but the question that came out was, what are the similarities between the selected countries i.e. Ghana, Mexico and America. The response rate was regarded as being inadequate. Other issues raised were the level of interaction with the institutions of higher learning. The commission called for an extended research with a broader consultation and bigger panel. The commission unanimously agreed that the current training does not meet the needs of the industry.

It was felt that training is essential and people out of school need to acquire knowledge and the question was “will the current training gaps be fulfilled by a school within an institution”? Care should be taken to ensure that if ever there is a school it should not produce more of the same.

There was a general agreement that the industry does not need a national film school. Some were of the view that rather the focus should be on supporting existing institutions and focus should be more on internships and short courses.

It was also agreed that there is a need for a centre of excellence. There is a need for accredited upskilling courses that will be recognized by companies and have certificates and internships and short courses for people in the industry. Apprenticeships are good models. In conducting training focus should not only be on feature film but also in television. It was also said that the industry needs to consider who is teaching at the film schools, look at the demographics within the existing film schools.

A representative from SASFED pointed out that it is so difficult for the industry to talk about training when the industry did not have a sustainable industry. She also pointed out the industry should prioritise apprenticeships as the film industry is a hands-on industry and practitioners need to learn by doing. She also asked if there was a way of accessing more funding from MAPPP SETA. A representative from MAPPP SETA responded saying that they are disbursing grants and made calls for discretionary grants recently for the film industry and the response was poor.

Gina Bonmariage was of the view that for the industry to conduct research that will address industry issues, there need to be a strong partnership between the NFVF, MAPPP SETA, DTI and DoE. She also proposed that there be a national pool of funds to initiate national up-skilling courses that are accredited.

Both Melanie Chait of Big Fish film school and David Wicht of Film Afrika spoke about the training programmes run by their companies. David Wicht talked about a model that they are currently using in their company to address skills challenges. He said companies are requested to contribute a certain percentage of their projects budget to training and that they currently have not encountered companies that are not willing to contribute. He also pointed out they try to select students who have shown passion for the industry. He said the training also includes life skills course.

There was consensus on the need for transformation within the industry. There was a question on how to access the Mapppseta funds and a representative from the seta reported that they have made three calls for discretionary grants this year.

Policy Alignment, Intergovernmental and Stakeholders Relations and Making an Economic Case for the Industry Session

This session was facilitated by Ms Lindi Ndebele- Koka from the Department of Arts and Culture. Mr Thami Nxasana was the speaker. Mr Nxasana gave a presentation on the history of the Film Industry, its current state, national competitiveness of the sector, its governability and its concurrent competency nature of film. The presentation gave a snap shot of how the Industry transformed from a laissez-faire economy into a government/political interfered one. It was stressed that the industry should realize that it is operating in a developmental state and should therefore meet government’s national imperatives which include poverty alleviation, skills development and redressing historical imbalances etc.

One of the questions asked was why government intervened with economic states? It was agreed that government intervention was due to the failure of markets. Markets succeed when they are levelled and government’s responsibility is to level the playing field by assessing risk factors so that entrepreneurs can participate in the film economy. The industry needs to prove its national competitiveness through capital diversion.

The industry's concurrent competency was discussed at large. Legislations which purport this were interrogated; these include section 76 of the Constitution which promotes good intergovernmental relations, schedule 4 and 5 of the Constitution which deals with concurrent competencies of provinces and national sphere of government. One of the ways in ensuring good intergovernmental relations is through 'sectoral integration' and this entails establishing an Intergovernmental Relations Forum (IGRF) that would consist of all relevant stakeholders of the industry. This forum needs to gazette this forum so that all resolutions taken become binding to all parties involved.

In making an economic case for the industry it was important for the industry to grapple with the Industry's structure and its dynamics. This includes understanding and identification of gaps within the value chain that in turn causes fragmentation. The value chain of film and video according to the Sectoral Industry Classification shows that it straddles across Major Division 6 (Wholesale, Retail Trade and Hospitality), Major Division 7 (Transporting, packing and warehousing) and Major Division 9 (Broadcasting and Communication). It was important for film to belong to its major division so that its contribution to the SA Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can correctly be assessed. This will also aid in riding fragmentation that currently exists within the industry.


Indentify Stakeholders and have a working committee
Need to have a language that the industry and government understands
NFVF has to allow creative and freedom of expression
Government needs to inject direct funding into NFVF, not through rebate schemes
Need to strike a balance between cultural and economic sectors
There's a need for a unified communication from the government to industry
SARS needs figures of how the industry is performing
An economic agenda needs to be put forth
Government needs to drive the global competitiveness of the sector
Need to integrate structures of government

Take the gazzetted IGRF and amend it to align or expand on it
Get raw data from production companies that will provide statistics
Government needs support organizations to be able to get information
Distribute key economic indicator and implement the sectoral information system
Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are needed: stop new policies Collaboration with the Office of the Presidency
Intellectual Property should be seen as a mediator between the community of practice industry and government
therefore all departments should prioritize IP

IP should be unbundled

Building a Sustainable Business, and Growth and Development of Markets

The breakaway session centred mostly around the factors involved in building a market for the film business, as well as sustainable business models and a consideration also of the challenges of developing a sustainable film industry business.

The issues raised during the discussion were:

Television poses the challenge to film production since it provides cheaper and easily accessible platform.
There is a limitation of market buyers (i.e. broadcasters) and this presents special challenges to building sustainable business.
Broadcasters need regulation so as to benefit the industry. ICASA and the Competition Commission would play a pivotal role in this area.
Since M-Net & E-TV do not directly compete with SABC for local content; this further reduces the impact that should be on the market.
The disadvantage of having a broadcaster own IP rights is that the content is not competitively exploited to generate additional revenue which could add to sustaining businesses within the industry.
The 'cost plus' business with broadcasters is hampering growth of industry.
There is a need to look at different sources of funding. Venture capital firms could provide desired solution if solicited correctly.
Although making an effectively quantifiable business plan may make it possible to secure private funding, the unavailability of reliable industry specific information makes it hard to show potential investors how their investment will be returned.
The failures of distribution/exhibition pose a greater threat to the industry.
There is no subsidy in place for nurturing distribution, whereas other countries, with the exception of the USA, have a distribution subsidy.
Competition issues for theatres/distributors are similar to those of TV broadcast. Imperfect competition is perpetuated.
Resource development in terms of distribution still needs to be significantly formalised.
Producers are earning more returns from Airline deals than they do from other platforms.
The DVD market is currently being run by the pirates, and at the rate it is growing it will be impossible to curb it in the near future. And with the technological advancements globally available, film will, much like music, be freely available to any and everyone. The industry has to start looking at ways to impose a “Freemium” for online audiovisual content.
It was suggested that, as an alternative production model, the best way to make films is by making sure that the cost of production is always lower than the expected return. That way it is easier for films to break even and maybe even see good revenue from sales.
This should be coupled with a change of focus from production, to a more market/audience oriented focus.
The industry needs to understand who it is producing for. Therefore good market intelligence needs to be nurtured and fully utilised.
The "star-effect" could be an added solution to why certain features do well in the market. Therefore the industry needs to work at promoting the "star culture" to drive the productions.
Positive externalities to these would be the proliferation of both TV and theatre markets, possibly coupled with local content regulation for theatres.
Action points that came out of the session were:

Focus on markets, particularly on prising, not only on production
Budget costs based on industry markets
Abandon 'cost plus' business
Find new routes to domestic market i.e. exploiting new media platforms
Reclaim IP rights
Strengthening industry bodies – Companies need to act together to win market
Commit to transforming the industry
Collaborate on gathering and publishing data
Lobby for a change in the market power of bodies in theatre, distribution & broadcast. This involves increased competition and active regulation from government.
There is a need for the IDC to be market oriented in its participation in the industry and not just product oriented. Industry feels that IDC intervenes with a view to add gains on film products rather than developing and growing the industry.
Appointed representatives from the breakaway sessions gave report back on the discussions at plenary. Justine Loots gave a report on Human capital Development, the policy Alignment and making an Economic case for the Industry session was co-presented by Mandla Dude (lecturer at TUT) and Lindi Ndedele-Koka (DAC). Producer Jeremy Nathan and Indra de Lanorelle (consultant) reported on Building a Sustainable Business and Development and Growth of Markets merged session.

It was not possible for all sessions to reach consensus on the resolutions from some of the discussed topics. However, there was consensus on the challenges and actions that needed to be taken.

The proceedings were closed by the NFVF CEO Eddie Mbalo, who indicated that the industry needs to be familiar with government processes and how government work. The CEO indicated that the NFVF will circulate the second edition of the Value Charter to the industry and other stakeholder to input on the document as part of further consultation. The NFVF is targeting the MTEF period that will begin in June 2010 to submit the final Value Charter.

Announcing Imbongi Awards 2010: Call for Nominations

The Imbongi Awards' capitalises on Cape Towns strong reputation for production craft by recognising, rewarding and honouring individuals and companies for outstanding achievement in pre-production, production and post-production. With a high-profile independent judging panel and a stringent judging process audited by Galbraith/ Rushby Accounts the integrity of the awards, and therefore its winners, is paramount.

Do you think you or someone within your industry deserves recognition for dedication, professionalism and being a master of their craft? If so the nomination process for Imbongi 2010 is officially open! Visit www.imbongiawards.co.za for the full category listing and nomination forms Nominations close at 16h00 on the 5th February 2010.

All successful nominees will be notified on the 9th February 2010 and the finalists for each of the categories will be announced on the 22nd February 2010. Winners will be announced at the Gala awards ceremony on the 6th March 2010.


Date: 6th March 2010
Time: 19:00 for 19:30
Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre
Dress: Black Tie
MC: Nik Rabinowitz is back!


Nominations and entries: 19 Jan - 5 Feb
Preparing Judging: 8 - 12 Feb
Judging days: 17, 18, 19 Feb
Online voting opens: 22 Feb
Online voting close: 2 March
Wrap winner selection and presentation: 3, 4 March Ceremony: 6 March 2010


Thursday, January 21, 2010

A little inspiration...

Hi All

Just a little something for fun:

A palindrome reads the same backwards as forward. This video reads the exact
opposite backwards as forward. Not only does it read the opposite, the
meaning is the exact opposite.
This is only a 1 minute, 44 second video and it is brilliant. Make sure
you read as well as listen both forward and backward.
This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old.. The
contest was titled "u @ 50" by AARP. This video won second place. When
they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into
spontaneous applause. So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and
watch it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nyanda determined to proceed with SABC funding bill

PUBLISHED in the BUSINESS DAY: 2010/01/20 06:25:24 AM

CAPE TOWN — Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda is determined to proceed with the controversial proposals in the draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill despite widespread concern that they would undermine the independence of the SABC.

Even though Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has clearly he said does not consider it “prudent” for the SABC to be funded by means of a levy of up to 1% on personal income tax. Nyanda insisted yesterday that the Treasury had been informed about the draft bill so that it could “inform (Gordhan) about (it) and its implications to his department”.

Gordhan said in a reply to a parliamentary question last month he had not been consulted about the draft bill. As a money bill it would have to be tabled in Parliament by the Treasury.

It has not yet been approved by the Cabinet.

Nyanda yesterday rejected the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) view that the draft bill would give him “unprecedented authority” over the SABC as “baseless and unfounded”.

“I have no intention of undermining that principle (freedom of the media) by ‘interfering’ with the day- to-day running of the public broadcaster,” he said.

“The SABC has both a board of directors and a group executive responsible for managing the public broadcaster. I have full confidence in both the board and executive management of the SABC to steer the crucial national asset towards the right direction and take it to greater heights.”

Nyanda said other ministers whose departments were affected by certain aspects of the draft bill would have an opportunity to comment on these issues when the draft bill was tabled in the Cabinet.

He said the public would be given an opportunity to comment further on the bill before it becomes law.

Comments already submitted from concerned bodies and the public on the bill would be “consolidated into the draft bill and be sent to Cabinet for discussion, after which the draft will be sent to Parliament for further discussion and be subjected to public hearings”, he said.

The DA on Monday accused the government of trying make managerial incompetence at the SABC an excuse for state interference.


Monday, January 18, 2010

ICASA Workshops on the "Commissioning of Independently Produced South African Programming Position Paper and Regulations"

Please click here to find an invitation for our Western Cape members to attend a workshop on the "Commissioning of Independently Produced South African Programming Position Paper and Regulations" on Monday 25 January 2010 at 11am in Cape Town, venue to be confirmed.

Please note that a workshop will be held in Johannesburg on the 28th of January 2010 at the ICASA offices for our Gauteng members, more details will follow.

For our Western Cape members, please rsvp to Mamedupe Kgatshe on mkgatshe@icasa.org.za and if you don't mind, please copy administrator@ipo.org.za into your response.

Thanks so much.

Dionne Cronin
Independent Producers' Organisation (IPO)
Tel: (011) 719-4000
Fax: (011) 719-4090
Cell: 083-600-9554
Email: administrator@ipo.org.za
Postal Address: PO Box 2631, Saxonwold, 2132
Web: www.ipo.org.za

Sunday, January 17, 2010

TVIEC Update

15 January 2010

2010: TVIEC Campaigns
Report back: State of the Industry Survey
TVIEC Press Release 18 December 2009
TVIEC Press Release 5 January 2010
TVIEC Open Letter to the New SABC Board 7 January 2010

Dear fellow industry professionals

As you are aware, the Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) was created in 2009 as a result of the SABC crisis of non payment and operational meltdown and the ensuing drama that unfolded.

This was a coming together of independent filmmakers: actors, crew, writers, producers, post prod crew, facilities and the unions in a joint effort to save our industry.

We had all hoped that the TVIEC could have disbanded by 2010, having played its part in resolving the SABC crisis, however sadly this has not been the case. There remains an ongoing problem getting the outstanding debt paid, operational problems have not been addressed at all and there is an increasing new debt in the form of royalties and repeats.

However, the new SABC Board and GCEO are in place and we are encouraged that finally we have structures that are accountable and permanent as opposed to the “interim” and “acting” roles that have been managing (mismanaging) the SABC into and during the crisis.

Sadly the crisis is far from over. As you will see in the results of our industry survey below, unemployment within our sector is sky high and we pre-empt the SABC will take some time before new commissions start to flow as they restructure. Even with a more promising new SABC Board in place (one that includes four of the TVIEC’s nominations), it is critical we remain vigilant, involved and ensure that the agenda of the independent sector is at the forefront: Building a sustainable independent production industry and ensuring cast and crew are paid timeously and fairly.

The TVIEC committee is committed to ensure that out of this crisis come changes to the fundamental problems that have stifled and frustrated our industry. We will continue with our work in 2010 with the aim to bolster and rebuild our public institutions – from the SABC to ICASA and the NFVF until we collectively, through our various organisations, agree that the crisis period is over and our organisations can resume the normal duties of managing their membership needs. We will do so by whatever means are prudent – lobbying, engaging and protesting if necessary.

2010: TVIEC Campaigns

Local Content and Terms of Trade. As an industry we need to continue to campaign to promote local content and to strengthen the SABC. The TVIEC will continue meeting with stakeholders, including the new SABC Board and the new GCEO. We will restate our position on the crucial issues – the commissioning of local content, cumbersome operational procedures, terms of trade with the corporation, intellectual property and the urgent payment of outstanding debts to producers, writers and actors.

The key focus for 2010 will be to win the battle for Intellectual Property ownership. The TVIEC will convene an IP workshop, plan a campaign and take it to stakeholders and to the streets.

High on our agenda needs to be transformation and the future generation of South African filmmakers and the role played in their development by institutions such as the NFVF that are tasked with serving our filmmakers.

Similarly, we need and demand a bold, independent broadcast regulator and will continue to campaign for ICASA to become more than a lame duck.

Report back: Industry survey

At the end of 2009, the IPO and SASFED completed a report on the state of the television industry to present to government and stakeholders in an appeal for distress funding and support. Thank you to everyone in the TVIEC who responded to our online questions and phone calls.

Summary of the IPO/SASFED report on the impact of the global and SABC financial crisis on the independent TV production sector

The 2008/2009 SABC financial and management crisis has resulted in an
immediate and drastic reduction of income and certainty to the independent television production sector (excluding commercials, servicing and film). An estimated R500-million in anticipated annual commissions (some already contracted) has been ‘put on ice’. This together with outstanding debts and royalty payments projects over
R600-million estimated loss in production spend this fiscal year.

Estimated Annual Income 2008:
With an economic multiplier of 2.5, this has resulted in over R4.125 billion in GDP activity over the past year. The bulk of this (65%) is derived from SABC local content requirements across 3 channels. (Predominantly S1 & S2)
Estimated Number of Active Production Companies (excluding
feature films, sports and news, facilities/post). Turnover (in millions):
1 70 – 100+ 4 – 5 companies (Mainly long running soap/format)
2 35 - 70 8 – 10 (Drama and long running)
3 10- 35 15 - 20 (Drama and Doc)
4 5 - 10 15 - 20
5 Under 5 80 - 100
We estimate a further 30 to 40 companies who trade within the bigger prod houses and have not reflected them herein as their income is already contained in above stats.
Employment - Individuals and Skills (Excluding facilities and post):
Category Permanent Contract Regulars Freelance
1 450 250 2500 6000
2 250 350 2000 10000
3 200 200 2000 8000
4 140 200 500 4500
5 160 250 250 4000
Total 1200 1250 7250 32500
The SABC’s shift from internal production to outsourcing has resulted in large-scale job creation and skills transfer. The above indicates an estimated 42 000 people are employed over the course of a year to service these needs - and a further 105 000 jobs were created in support services. An estimate of 70% of above reflects employment of previously disadvantaged individuals.

The IPO/SASFED undertook a survey over the period 15 October to 5 November 2009, which entailed a manual interview process by telephone and e-mail.
Companies Surveyed: Production 45; Post Production 9; Studios 5; Facilities 7. Total 66

Anecdotal Quotes from Respondents
“We are refocusing our business to outside our borders throughout Africa” – Large multifaceted production house
“We have retrenched all our staff” – small high end drama company
“I am losing my house. My car has been reposed and I am struggling to make payments” – highly regarded black director
“If we are not contracted by SABC within next 2 months, we will liquidate” – small production company focusing on live television.


Loss of turnover
Respondents were asked to report on their estimated drop in total turnover for the
current/forecast year. These responses were analysed in terms of size and impact.
The result showed that the impact of the crisis is not even across the market, but is more severe, on average, the smaller the organization.

Production Companies
Estimated Average Turnover Loss (R millions)
Category % avg loss T/O Avg TOTAL
1 10 85 43
2 30 50 120
3 50 20 200
4 60 7 71
5 70 2 126

Estimated Average Turnover Loss 2009/10 (R millions)
Category % avg loss T/O Avg TOTAL
1 10 75 38
2 30 40 60
3 50 20 80
4 66 7 46
5 70 3 32
Total lost revenue R725-million (which is a loss of 31% overall)

This implies a total capital at risk of R303-million or 32% of the total capital in the industry.

Job losses
The survey on job losses was focused primarily on jobs in the production sector, as this is by far the major employer in the value-chain of the industry.
Jobs Lost: 17 171

Multiplier effects
The survey looks at direct activity in the industry. With the accepted industry multiplier of 2.5 the key indicators of distress are as follows:
Total turnover loss R1.9 billion
Job losses in production 42,000

For discretion we have not listed the names of companies that have informed us of closure or near closure but have instead provided a profile of a few. Our estimates are that approx 15 companies have closed with a further 20 just clinging on.

Companies with little or no reliance on the SABC continue to show distress, at a level from 20 – 38%. This has been taken as an indicator of non-SABC specific downturn in the industry, and is in line with anecdotal industry estimates of drops in activity, advertising spend and volume of 15-30%.

A theoretical amount of R788 million of total capital would need to be invested again in the industry, simply to return to the level of 2008. A major part of this is the cost of re-training skilled workers, and can be avoided if recovery is rapid.

Demand on the independent production sector for content in the digital environment will be 400 to 500% greater than current levels. With 3 multiplexes of 8 to 10 channels, 2 of which are non-subscription, this means that there will be approx 16 channels compared to the current 4, with independent production thresholds equal to the current free to air. Therefore approx 300% increase in demand. The growth requirement of independent production will thus be significant. Any reindustrialization will therefore not only have to bring the sector back to its current level but will have to provide for significant expansion.

18 December 2009

1. Welcome to the incoming SABC board and GCEO

The Television Industry Emergency Coalition congratulates the new SABC board on their ratification and welcomes Doctor Ben Ngubane as Chairman, Ms Felleng Sekha as Deputy Chair, as well as Mr Solly Mokoetle as GCEO. We are indeed pleased that 2010 will start of with fresh leadership and look forward to working with the new board and GCEO to turning the SABC around into a profitable institution that is answerable to the South African public and a jewel in our national crown.

However, while we welcome the new GCEO, we question why the interim board made this sudden and unexpected announcement and did not defer the appointment to the incoming permanent board given that they are weeks away from taking the helm of the SABC. This seems to undermine the incoming board from the outset. We trust the GCEO and the new board will meet as soon as possible to forge a relationship of their own.

We also wish to state that we are very disappointed that the SABC Interim Board has not kept its word to our sector in resolving the crisis around non-payment to producers and artists. There remain millions of rands in unpaid debt to the independent production sector and this amount is growing daily due to repeat broadcasts that are not being paid to actors, writers and production companies. Despite numerous promises by the Interim Board that paying the independent production sector was one of the clear objectives of their tenure, this has not been achieved and we feel duped.

We call upon the new board and GCEO to act swiftly in resolving the matter of outstanding debt to our sector as unfortunately the Interim Board and management have abused the goodwill of the independent production sector and people now demand payment to be made swiftly and without further delays. This must be a priority on their incoming Board’s agenda, together with resolving the ongoing operational crisis at the SABC. To this end we commit to working with the GCEO and board to ensure that this matter is now swiftly settled.

2. Formalised labour meets formalised business

The crisis at the SABC has seen a historic coming together of formalised business and labour in the film and television industry. The CWUSA (Creative Workers Union of South Africa), IPO (Independent Producers Association) and SASFED (South African Screen Federation) have committed to a two-day workshop on the 3rd and 4th of February to seek out and agree to a common vision and roadmap for the industry with a focus on building sustainable livelihoods for creative workers and businesses. Key issues will be intellectual property ownership, fair trade and financial agreements between broadcasters, producers and artists - and a revitalised focus on building local content.

Our industry has paid a heavy price for the management and financial crisis at the SABC. It has led to company closures, retrenchments and job losses. We cannot let that happen again.

We are committed to building a sustainable and responsible production sector that is able to meet the demands and needs of our democracy and economy, and offer sustainable employment in line with the objectives of our government.

Our sector has huge capacity for job creation and we are committed to growing and developing skills.
We commit our support to President Zuma’s call to the nation to continue working to create a united cohesive society out of our fragmented past. To continue promoting unity in diversity and to develop a shared value system based on the spirit of community solidarity and a caring society.
We are committed to become active citizens in the renewal of our country and within our sector to work together, to help where we can to speed up its economic growth and sustainability and to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods for all in our industry.
5 January 2010

Response to Sunday Times lead story of 3 January 2010:
‘Fresh Crisis Rocks SABC’

The TVIEC wishes to state that our position has been misrepresented in the above-mentioned article with regards the appointment of Mr Solly Mokoetle as GCEO of the SABC. We do not feel Mr Mokoetle’s appointment was ‘unfortunate’ as the article alludes. On the contrary, we stated publicly and to the Sunday Times that we had no problem with Mr Mokoetla’s appointment and welcomed him, however we found it unfortunate that this appointment was made on the eve of the SABC Interim Board’s departure and not left to the incoming board as they will be working closely with the new GCEO.

We went on to state that our major concern is that the Interim Board is leaving the SABC without meeting its promise to the independent production sector to pay all outstanding debt to producers, writers and actors by the end of November 2009. In this regard the new board and Mr Mokoetle will be inheriting a substantial debt to our sector.

We have in good faith negotiated with the Interim Board and acting SABC management to receive outstanding payments and feel let down. In addition, the SABC has allowed repeat broadcasts of programmes to go ahead without paying actors and writers for these repeats as is contractual, thus increasing the debt to independent sector. The Interim Board’s view that payment of repeats should be sorted out by management and was not their responsibility is very disappointing and the TVIEC views this as an abdication of fiscal responsibility.

Some eight months have passed since the TVIEC marched to the SABC demanding payment of debt and despite some small payments of amounts under R200 000 and countless promises, our members are still largely unpaid. The TVIEC will insist that the SABC now resolves the matter speedily.

7 January 2010

Open Letter to the New SABC Board

The recent references in the press to the much maligned Gobodo audit report have prompted us to issue this open letter.

The Gobodo report was initiated by a SABC Board chaired by Eddie Funde and his deputy Christine Qunta. Although the terms of reference were never openly articulated, our understanding is that the forensic audit enquiry was set up to investigate claims by individuals within the SABC of irregularities and collusion in the SABC’s commissioning process. The enquiry was undertaken at great expense to the public and exacted a heavy toll on those being investigated inside and outside the SABC.

The individuals and companies interviewed during the investigation were never formally advised of any allegations against them nor given an opportunity to read the report or to defend themselves. However the report was presented to the Funde Board – a report which we understand contained a number of unfounded allegations and innuendo.

Along with the infighting within the SABC over the past eight years or so, we have seen a period where character assassination entered into our political culture. We believe that the Gobodo report has been put to sinister use and continues to be used for dubious ends.

We wonder whether the resurrection of this report is not yet another attempt to divert our attention away from the findings of the recent AG report which deals with the disarray that the SABC found itself in at the end of the Funde/Qunta reign.

It is a pity that the new SABC Board and GCEO are having their attention side-tracked by a five year old report that apparently deals with conspiracy theories. They should rather get stuck into the task of rebuilding the teetering public broadcaster, which still has a huge debt outstanding to the production industry and is in desperate need of new content and morale.

The real issue at hand is that the Board needs to tell the public and the industry what it will be doing about the 2009 forensic report of the AG. We understand that the AG’s findings ultimately raise questions about the legally binding fiduciary responsibilities of the previous two Boards.

We call on the SABC Board to put the chapter of conspiracy theories (and reign by fear and rumour) of the institution’s history behind us and do either of the following: Get legal opinion and act upon the report if there is substance (thereby allowing the respondents a fair and legally transparent process) OR openly declare the enquiry and the subsequent report as flawed and invalid.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: tvcrisis@gmail.com
Charl: 082-6813680

This update is written on behalf of the TVIEC (Television Industry Emergency Coalition) which consists of: IPO (Independent Producers Organization), SASFED (South African Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance), DFA (Documentary Filmmakers Association), WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) as well as CWU (Creative Workers Union).

TVIEC Steering Committee: Charl Blignaut, Rehad Desai, Levern Engel, Harriet Gavshon, Stan Joseph, Desiree Markgraaf, Lodi Masetsela, Kgomotso Matsunyane, Marc Schwinges and Robbie Thorpe

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cape Town TV submission on the Public Service Broadcasting Bill

Cape Town TV submission on the Public Service Broadcasting Bill, as published in the Government Gazette. Click here to view file. (67.4kb)

MDDA submission to the Minister of Communications – PSB Bill

To view the MDDA Submission to the Minister of Communications – PSB Bill click here (2.4mb)

SOS submission on Public Service Broadcasting Bill

The full SOS Submission text of 15 January 2010, plus three separate Annexures can be view on the links below:
SOS submission - PSB Bill final (132kb)
Annexure B - SOS proposals (100kb)
Annexure C - Toby Mendel International Opinion (194kb)
Annexure D - Afrimap Research (1.69mb)

Today's press statement begins here:

The SOS: Supporting Public Broadcasting Coalition, representing unions, media NGOs, independent producers and academics, has completed a substantive final draft of its submission on the Public Service Broadcasting Bill. The deadline for final submission was Friday 15 January 2010.

The Coalition wishes to recognise and applaud the Department of Communications and the Minister of Communications for trying to act swiftly in bringing about much-needed legislative reform. The Coalition welcomes the sense of urgency and energy behind the Proposed Bill. That said, the Coalition is also of the view that while the Bill has a number of positive elements which we certainly support, there are unfortunately a number of problems with it as currently drafted which, if not addressed, will result in the latter not being able to be passed by Parliament.

Overall the Coalition argues that the Bill is premature and that it needs to be proceeded by a substantive policy review process.

The Coalition believes that there are a number of Constitutional problems with the Bill – both procedurally and substantively. Further we note that some of the provisions of the Bill are internally inconsistent and contradictory.

In terms of procedural issues we note that the Proposed Bill is a “money bill” because it calls for amendments to the Tax Act. (It calls for a dedicated broadcasting tax.) We note that “money bills” need to deal mainly with money issues but the Public Service Broadcasting Bill deals with a myriad of other issues. Also we note that “money bills” need to be tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance. We note that it appears that the Minister of Communications intends to table the Bill. Further, to this we note that the Minister of Finance has in fact rejected the idea of a dedicated broadcasting tax. We thus seek clarity as to the status of the Bill since this key funding proposal has been rejected.

In terms of substantive Constitutional issues the Coalition notes that the Bill undermines the SABC’s freedom of expression rights (e.g. by specifying that the SABC’s international services must be subject to the “Republic’s foreign policy” and that the Minster should approve the SABC’s editorial policies). It undermines the community media’s freedom of association rights by insisting that community stations “forge relationships with municipalities”. Further, the Bill contravenes the Constitution’s requirement to “ensure independent regulation of broadcasting by a single Regulator”. The proposed Public Service Broadcasting Fund potentially impinges on the role of the Regulator through its operations in all three tiers of the media, its massive financial muscle and the scope of its powers.

In terms of inconsistencies and contradictions we note a number of problems that have arisen due to the fact that the Bill includes two Charters – an SABC Charter and Community Media Charter. It is not entirely clear what the legal status is of these Charters. Further, these Charters and the Bill often contradict one another.

Finally, we make the case for a major policy review process. We argue that it remains a puzzle to the Coalition that the Department appears to be missing the opportunity with a new ANC leadership, a new Parliament, a new Portfolio Committee, A new Minister and a new Director General to make new, fresh, bold policy initiatives. We argue that significant debate needs to be held as regards a host of topics including the Bill’s linking of broadcasting to the “developmental state” and its total reconceptualisation of the role of community media. Further we discuss, in some detail, the issue of funding. For instance we note the Bill presents only one funding option the dedicated broadcasting tax which has now been rejected by National Treasury.

We argue that a policy review process would allow for a number of governance and funding options to be researched, debated and discussed which would certainly be to the long term benefit of public broadcasting.

For more information please contact:

Ms. Kate Skinner: 082 926-6404

Thursday, January 14, 2010

CWU Gauteng Statement on SABC Board

As Communication Workers Union in Gauteng we’ve been consistent in supporting the newly appointed CEO Mr. Solly Mokoetle, as well as the newly appointed SABC board. Our support was based on the fact that there was no procedural flawed in the appointment and that the interim board has appointed a competent and suitable candidate and his track record in the industry speaks for its self. There are those who wanted to destabilise this progressive initiative by the interim board, for the agenda only known to them. We further commend the braveness demonstrate by the new board led by Dr. Ben Ngubane in distancing themselves from these faceless people, and reassuring the nation that the board is not divided over the appointment of the CEO.

We’re confident that Mr. Solly Mokoetle will take SABC to higher levels. We further applaud him on his commitment to work with all stake holders in rebuilding the broadcaster. We were pleased with his commitment to address all concerning issues raised by the Audit General Report, which is what we want to see happening.

To COPE and IFP they must take a back seat and allow the SABC Board and CEO to do the work, theirs is to focus on rebuilding their dying organisations.

Aubrey kaTshabalala
CWU [Gauteng] Deputy Chairperson 082 994 8196

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Suitcase Journey

"Local film maker Vassie Govender, while researching the subject of Aids, has come across ample evidence of Aids denial within the Indian community, especially in the greater Durban area. This prompted him to embark on his journey to bring the full impact of this to the public through the film The Suitcase Journey." Read HERE

Vassie Govender is also a member of the DFA, a SASFED member organisation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Public Services Broadcasting Bill an Exercise in Maldevelopment

By: Jane Duncan, South African Civil Society Information Service (www.sacsis.org.za), 11 January 2009

Debates about the controversial Public Services Broadcasting Bill have focussed on proposed changes to the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) funding model, as well as attempts by the Department of Communications to exercise undue control over the SABC and the community media sector, ostensibly to ensure that the sector meets developmental state objectives. To this end, the Department requires the SABC to '[support] rural development, particularly in the areas of agriculture, job creation and [sic] economic-well being of people'.
These attempts at control are dangerous, as they may compromise the Corporation's editorial independence. Yet at the same time, a purely liberal response to the Bill - arguing for removal of powers of the Minister and the references to development - is inadequate, as it will not address clear deficiencies in South Africa's media system.

In order to develop an appropriate response to the Bill, some basic home truths about the nature of post-apartheid media transformation must be acknowledged. One of these is that the media offer few opportunities for issues affecting the poor and the marginalised to find their way into the public domain, which is a direct result of a reliance on commercial sources of funding.

Media development has balkanised along income lines. While claiming to be 'national' in scope, commercial news coverage is, all too often, driven by events in the wealthier metropolitan areas. Newsgathering may rely to an inappropriate extent on official sources, in the process failing to promote a diversity of viewpoints. Business news often dominates the schedule at the expense of labour news. Entertainment dominates the schedule, while 'uneconomic' genres - such as documentary and factual programming – are crowded out. English dominates at the expense of African languages, and political reporting tends to legitimise centrist politics, while marginalising politically extreme views. While the SABC is not as guilty as other media of these biases, they are nevertheless apparent in its offerings.

The media are meant to constitute an inclusive public sphere, providing common meeting points where problems affecting society as a whole can be debated, and then brought to the attention of those who can do something about them. But the lack of common viewing and listening spaces has negative implications for social stability, as it breeds a society that is unable to see itself.
Why, in a period of unparalleled media expansion, are there are significant numbers of people who clearly feel that the only way to make their voices heard is to take to the streets, block highways and burn down Councillor's houses? Many South Africans clearly do not feel that the media provide adequate platforms for expression of their frustrations.

The Bill makes some attempt to address these deficiencies in the media system, by shifting the SABC in a more non-commercial direction. To this extent, the proposed changes to the SABC's funding base are progressive, and should be supported. Also, proposals by organisations like the Democratic Alliance for a wholesale privatisation of the broadcaster should be rejected as retrogressive.

Yet, is it possible to retain the developmental focus in the Bill, without falling into the trap of state control of content? An alternative approach should recognise the importance of the sector meeting development objectives, but in a manner that creates spaces on the broadcaster for a clash of ideas around development.

The Bill's drafters have made a fundamental error in assuming that the state is the only custodian of development objectives; therefore, the realisation of these objectives necessitates greater state steering of the sector. It fails to recognise the capacity of poor people to be agents and drivers of change, and assumes that the poor and the state are in unison on the manner and pace of development.

This approach is wrong-headed, as it can lead to a singular definition of development being imposed. So programmes that support the government's definition of development are aired, while programmes that contest this definition may not see the light of day, as they do not promote the government's definition of social cohesion and the national interest. A broadcaster that falls prey so such censorship will increase social instability and promote maldevelopment, as it will fail to provide platforms for debate about the conditions for true development.

A state is generally considered developmental if its interventions in the economy are directed towards the country catching up with more developed countries industrially and technologically. The South African government has evolved its own definition from the East Asian model, involving manufacturing growth combined with authoritarian statist politics.

Globally and locally, the true development value of developmental states has been contested. This development model tends to rely on alliances between selected 'patriotic investors' and state technocrats, and is notoriously prone to rent seeking and corruption.

Patrick Bond has criticised the South African model for promoting maldevelopment, based on a combination of macroeconomic neo-liberalism and unsustainable megaproject development. He has cited infrastructure development around the 2010 World Cup, and the Coega port development project in Port Elizabeth as examples of projects that benefit local elites and multinationals - especially finance capital and construction firms - with scant benefits for the poor.

The standard government line is that mega-events such as 2010 will generate benefits that will have long-term positive impacts on host cities, yet their true development benefits have become a sore point in many host countries.

The 'crowding in' of investments around soccer stadiums have in many cases led to the 'crowding out' of investments in more distant areas. Jobs that are created may be temporary, causal and low paid. Huge investments have been made in facilities that are barely used afterwards.

When global sporting events come to town, they have also led to gentrification, as well as forced removals. Anti-loitering laws have been used to 'cleanse' the streets of beggars and the homeless.
Many host countries have encouraged media boosterism of mega-events, and disparaged critical questioning as anti-patriotic. Yet some journalists have decided to look beyond the hype and ask the really critical questions about the development benefits of mega-events. Will the SABC have the independence to do the same?

Not if the Bill is promulgated into law, as the institutional arrangements it proposes will not encourage independent journalism on South Africa's development model. In fact the Bill will probably heighten the SABC's culture of editorial timidity, where anything considered too hot to handle is shelved. The broadcaster has consistently misread a commitment to development journalism to mean pro-government journalism: an unfortunate tendency that will probably intensify if the Bill is promulgated.

The Department of Communications has stated that increased Executive oversight of the SABC is confined to financial matters only. A close reading of the Bill does not support this argument, as there are clauses that implicate the independence of the SABC's content, either directly or indirectly.

For instance, the Bill entrenches the existing arrangement where the Minister appoints the Group Chief Executive Officer, who is also the editor-in-Chief. This means that the Minister has indirect control over the SABC's most controversial content-related decisions.

What if "Special Assignment" discovers corruption in the tendering process in a 2010 project: an expose that could embarrass the local organisers in the eyes of the international community? The programme may suffer the same fate as the one on political satire, and not find its way onto the airwaves.

The Bill also states that the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) must develop criteria for the allocation of public broadcasting services funding for approval by the Minister in consultation with the Minister of Finance. This clause is inappropriate, as it opens the door for the Minister (or the MDDA for that matter) to weed out 'desirable' from 'undesirable' content. The broadcaster may also self-censor out of fear of not receiving its full allocation of funds.

To the extent that the Bill recognises the need for the broadcasting system to develop a pro-poor character, it must be supported. But what the Bill's drafters fail to recognise is that freedom of thought is an indispensible condition of development, as development imposed from above is no development at all.

Prof. Jane Duncan is Highway Africa Chair of Media and Information Society, School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University.

Please attribute The South African Civil Society Information Service (www.sacsis.org.za) as the source of this article.

From: http://www.sacsis.org.za/site/article/406.1